Using Blast+ to compare methods for determining bacterial populations

From Montana Tech High Performance Computing

Luke Stout, Marisa Pedulla

Montana Tech

In conjunction with the Blast+ software, sixteen scripts were developed and run on the HPC to compare metagenomic and 16s diversity sequencing sets’ results against two of NCBI’s public databases. The results found that either method suggested disparate communities of bacteria for the same sample of DNA. Further research is needed to conclude that these results are extendable to other datasets, as well as other non-soil settings like the human microbiome; however, the implications of continually disparate results between these two popular techniques of identifying bacterial populations would call for a more standardized approach to bacterial categorization by clinical and ecological studies in general. The HPC was used to perform hundreds of thousands of comparisons between sample DNA sequences and public databases, which even when run in parallel, can take days to weeks. We would like to thank Bowen Deng for his help with the HPC and his continued interest in the project.

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